Voice, interrupted

22 Aug 2007

No-one seems entirely pleased by the denouement to last week's Skype-outage, not least Microsoft. Skype's explanation stops just short of actually blaming Microsoft for the two-day downtime.

It said the glitch was triggered by the mass reboot of computers after a Windows update, although it admitted the fault lay in its own software. Microsoft agreed.

Windows patches are routine, to say the least. How was it, bloggers wondered, that this one managed to pull the house down‾

Skype's explanation was that the event "revealed a previously unseen software bug within the network resource allocation algorithm which prevented the self-healing function from working quickly."

So maybe it was the Russian hackers after all.

VoIP is supposed to be disruptive, not interruptive, but Skype's wasn't the only VoIP snafu this week.

About 400 users of unified comms provider Grand Central have had to change their phone number. Not such a great problem, except for the company's promise of "one number for life".

Grand Central's new owner, Google, says one of the carrier partners is discontinuing support and the new provider cannot support all the existing phone numbers.

The upside for Grand Central in this episode is it has come to the wider world's attention. UC is one of those concepts that has been around for years, and with help from the G-guys, Grand Central may yet make it work. But don't throw away those old business cards just yet.

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